Being a pastor married to pastor, my wife and I work hard at balancing our ministries and the variety of opportunities to serve. We are respectful of each other’s responsibilities and rarely do work related things together. This is what works best for us. However, on this day, I find myself sitting in the car at DFW National Cemetery while my wife, Marilyn, presides over a graveside service. The plan was to drop me off at a coffee shop but Google Maps did not cooperate and my attire was too casual so in the car I remain.
As I sit and reflect, viewing a background of numerous headstones, I am overwhelmingly grateful for those who have faithfully served our nation. The sacrifices they made continue to secure the freedom that we enjoy as we worship each week. I am also reminded that Lent opens our hearts and minds and takes us to those wilderness places. This causes us to reflect on our humanity, our frailty and the need for God’s grace that is so freely extended to us in Jesus Christ.
Our Lenten journey also takes us, as Jesus’s disciples, unexpectedly to a graveyard. The disciples who followed Jesus probably didn’t image being led to a place of wilderness that seemingly had no return. In our moments of wilderness Jesus offers us these words:
In my Father’s house there are many dwelling-places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.
John 14:2-4 New Revised Standard Version
Jesus reminds us that no matter where our wilderness journey takes us he will be there. In Jesus, even in death, we find hope and a friend who promises to never forsake us and who will care for us for all eternity.